Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Sci-tech | By Eric Barnett

Trump Administration Aims to Freeze Fuel Standards, End Tougher California Rules

Trump Administration Aims to Freeze Fuel Standards, End Tougher California Rules

Exercise your right to vote.

- The Trump administration is proposing to roll back Obama-era mileage standards that were created to make cars more fuel efficient and reduce pollution and California Democrats are vowing to fight back. Those standards target a doubling of the fuel economy standards to 50 miles per gallon.

The prices on new cars have become unaffordable to median-income families in every metropolitan region in the United States except Washington, according to an independent study by Bankrate.com.

Democrats have called for the auto sector and states like California to reach a compromise on stricter fuel efficiency and emissions standards.

Simon Mui, a senior scientist at the National Resources Defense Council, a group that opposes the change to the fuel standards, calculates that the change will have the net effect of reducing the average real world fuel economy of American automobiles by about 8 miles per gallon in 2025 relative to what it would be if Obama era standards were kept in place.

More than a dozen states follow California's standards, amounting to about 40 per cent of the country's new-vehicle market. With today's release of the Administration's proposals, it's time for substantive negotiations to begin.

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The proposal to roll back anti-pollution efforts is in line with President Donald Trump's decision previous year to abandon the 2015 Paris Agreement, under which countries agreed to take steps to mitigate global warming. "We urge California and the federal government to find a common sense solution that sets continued increases in vehicle efficiency standards while also meeting the needs of America's drivers".

"Our current analysis shows that we get substantial improvement in vehicle highway safety, and you know when you monetize the improvement in highway safety and compare that to the monetized value of environmental health and safety control, the highway safety numbers swamp the environmental numbers", William Wehrum, EPA's assistant administrator for air and radiation, told reporters on Thursday. The firm projects the policy would cost the USA economy $457 billion and cause 13,000 deaths by 2050, as air quality suffers.

The fuel-efficiency rules, which were key to former President Barack Obama's efforts to fight climate change, require auto makers to cut emissions enough.

Those assertions are refuted by thousands of pages of data the Obama administration used in developing the regulation. The logic is that because new-car prices will be lower, "more consumers will be able to afford newer and safer vehicles".

A group of 20 state attorneys general announced their intent to sue the government over the EPA's proposed rules, arguing that the new guidelines would cost Americans up to $236 billion in gas and add the equivalent of emissions from 400 million cars. "These arguments are not new". That would price many buyers out of the new-vehicle market, forcing them to drive older, less-safe vehicles that pollute more, the administration says. Auto jobs were not a major part of administration officials' case Thursday for the rollbacks. "Their own numbers don't even support what I consider the deceptive messaging they're trying to pass on to people". Despite the waiver, California still fails to meet federal clean air guidelines, the agencies noted. In May, California and 16 other states filed a preemptive lawsuit arguing the rollback would be illegal. "The administration is using a parade of horrors to justify an extreme rollback", said the Safe Climate Campaign.

©2018 Los Angeles Times, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. "They lead to the conclusion that safety will be impaired".

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